Kimi Raikkonen’s Italian Grand Prix race pace was a match for winner Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull, reckons Lotus boss Eric Boullier.
Raikkonen had only qualified 11th and then had to pit for a new front wing after running into the back of Sergio Perez’s McLaren at the first corner. That limited the Finn to an 11th-place finish.
Boullier said the result was hugely frustrating given the race potential Raikkonen had shown. He was 37 seconds behind Vettel when he rejoined after his early repairs and finished the race 38sec down.
“If you overlay the race of Kimi and Sebastian and forget the first two laps, we are just losing 1s over the 51 laps. This is the answer!” Boullier said.
He added that there was no option of leaving Raikkonen out with the damaged wing to see how he fared. The lap-one pitstop meant he effectively had to convert to a two-stop strategy and pitted again on lap 30.
“The wing was unusable. It was damaged too much,” said Boullier.
Raikkonen added that the race pace comparison to Vettel was even more impressive because he had been hacking through traffic all afternoon while the German enjoyed a clear run.
“It’s not just the time in the pits, but you have to work your way through the field afterward,” said Raikkonen. “We did a pretty good job of that and the car felt good, surprisingly good given where we were on Saturday. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do after the start to the race we had.”